By Tom Kando
A few years ago, I spent a winter sabbatical in Eastern Europe. I stayed there for over three months, mostly in Budapest, Hungary, researching post-communist conditions in the former satellites of the Soviet Union. My research also required me to go to adjacent countries, for example the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. One of my side trips was to the Southern Polish city of Krakow. I knew some faculty members at the Jagiellonian University there, and I had made appointments to interview them. I decided to drive there from Budapest in the little Renault Twingo which I had rented in Vienna.
Ever since the fall of Communism, Eastern Europe has experienced a very high rate of property crime, especially car theft. Americans who travel in Europe and rent cars there are told adamantly not to drive their rentals into Eastern Europe, where they are not even insured
I had a close call on my very first day in Budapest: I had driven in from Vienna and parked my Twingo in front of the apartment building where I was to live for the next three months, and I carried my suitcase in. No sooner was I registering for my room than the clerk began to scream: “Mister, Quick! Go outside! They stealing car!”
Thursday, November 15, 2012
By Tom Kando